Celebrating the One on the Throne
John 19:13 ¶ When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.
The irony of the scene played out in John’s gospel is that Pilate places himself up on the elevated throne to proclaim judgement against Jesus — the Messiah. If Pilate had realized what he was really doing he would have been appalled. How could he place himself on the throne above the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? This Jesus who had come into the world to usher in a new kingdom was standing before him. The real king was there in his very midst and yet he did not recognize him, and instead of elevating the King, he elevated himself. The word gabbatha means “elevation” — the high place. The high place was to be reserved for those in power and being the illegitimate leader in this situation, Pilate took the throne — the high seat. Little did he know how the tables would soon be turned.
This is Christmas Eve and today we celebrate with great anticipation the arrival of the new King — the true King who began his reign that day so long ago and continues onward reaching out in time to you and to me. For us to truly celebrate we must recognize his rightful place, on the throne!
Sadly, some of us, if we were honest, might discover that we are a bit like Pilate. Instead of celebrating the one who is on the throne, we put ourselves on the throne. Sometimes this is intentional, but at other times it may simply happen because of time and circumstances. Life becomes difficult and busy. Instead of trusting entirely in the Lord, we begin to take control and micro-manage the situations. We are afraid of where things might go if we allow God to take over and all of a sudden we discover that we are on the throne instead of him. We find ourselves looking down on the one who should be on the throne and wondering why things have gotten so messed up.
May we take a little time today to re-evaluate whether we have allowed the true King to be on the throne. May Christmas be about the one whom we elevate — Jesus! Take stock and don’t let anything be placed higher than the Savior who was born that night to bring peace and to set the world free! Celebrate the rightful One who is on the throne.
Jesus, today we celebrate you and lift you up! Amen.